The festival was declared open with a traditional Tahitian welcome dance called the Tamure and the competition was blessed with a traditional prayer by the Tahua (priest) which is a prayer to the ocean believed to bring good fortune for the competition.
The Tahitian Minister of Sport was in attendance and also welcomed competitors and spectators to the event and expressed that he was proud to see Tahiti host another world-class surfing competition.
The young aspiring professional surfers reveled in the clean and pulsing swell with an array of standout performers from local Tahitians, Hawaiians and Australians including: Fraser Dovell (AUS) (scoring 8.25 & 8.00), Keoni Yan (HAW) (Scoring 8.25 & 6.35), Reef Heazlewood (AUS) (scoring 6.50 & 5.85), Kai Hing (AUS) (scoring 8.15 & 8.00) and last year's event champion in both the Pro Junior and Qualifying Series (QS) division Mateia Hiquily (PYF) (scoring 8.50 & 7.25).
"Tahiti is paradise, there's palm trees everywhere and warm water - I'm loving it," Said Reef Heazlewood. "I surfed Teahupoo when I got here and it was so cool. I was originally just coming here to get experience but now that the WSL has announced they're dropping the age of the junior events next year I'm trying really hard to get a good seeding for next year. It's such great timing having both the QS and Junior here so that we can get experience on the Qualifying Series too."
In the women's Vahine Pro Junior, the winner of the last event in NZ Holly Wawn (AUS) starred posting both 7.50 and a 6.25. Holly Wawn arrived early to Tahiti and the extra training and preparation has paid off.
"We surfed Papara the other day and the banks were really distinct. I said to Isabella Nichols, 'imagine if there was only four people out, it'd be so much fun!.'" Wawn said. "The local people are so lovely, really accommodating and will help you out with anything. I'm currently sitting equal first on the rankings so I'm really excited about the event and the prospect of competing at the WSL Junior Championships."